Credit cards offer more than points and miles rewards. Many credit cards differentiate themselves by offering additional perks and amenities. If you use your card responsibly and pay it off in full each month, you're essentially getting the value of these perks for free. Here are some standout credit card perks you'll want to consider when doing your research.
Rental car insurance
The majority of U.S. credit cards come with secondary auto rental coverage. There are a handful of cards that offer primary car rental insurance, which is far more valuable. Here's how secondary auto insurance works: If you have an auto insurance policy on your primary vehicle back home, you have to submit a claim to that insurance company first. Then, if it doesn't cover the full amount or it rejects the claim, that's when your credit card's rental car coverage kicks in. This means that having a credit card with primary car rental insurance can be valuable. It keeps you from having to submit a claim to your primary insurance, which can increase your premiums.
Have you ever bought something, only to notice the retailer dropped the price just days afterward? They may or may not let you return the item and buy it at the lower price, but that won't matter if you have the right credit card. If something you’ve already purchased has been marked down in price, some credit cards will refund you the difference within 30 to 60 days of the initial purchase.
Airport lounge access
Relaxing at the airport sounds like an oxymoron. Whether you're stuck in the airport security line, rushing to make your flight, or wondering whether there will be enough overhead baggage space on the plane, it's not easy to relax. That is unless you can spend some time in an airport lounge. Airport lounges are separated from the hubbub of the rest of the airport and offer a space to sit back, enjoy a meal or drink, take a shower, and sometimes even get a massage. Keep in mind, though, that most cards that offer lounge access come with a hefty annual fee.
Do your due diligence
You'll want to get as much value out of your credit cards as possible. Most people don’t realize all of the experiences and perks they may be able to access with their card -- for free. As you're searching for a credit card, be sure to review all of a card's perks. The more you know about them, the better the chances you'll find one that fits your needs. Start with comparing credit cards
based on their main benefits. Then dig deeper once you've found a few you like.
FAQs on Rewards Credit Cards
Which rewards card should you choose?
There's no one right credit card out there for everyone. To find out which one is best for you, you'll need to review your spending patterns and find the card that will maximize your rewards based on that behavior.
Do you like to travel a lot? Or maybe you want cashback to spend on whatever you want. Depending on your preferences, there’s a rewards credit card that’s best for you. It takes some research, but by learning about a card’s reward perks, you can figure out the best strategies to reap its full benefits and save you money.
For instance, you can get a travel credit card that offers 50,000 points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months. Toss in double points on certain types of purchases, and depending on the earning and redemption rates, you’ll soon earn a fair amount of points to put toward airfare or hotel for this year’s dream getaway destination.
Some of the best cards have stricter credit requirements. Being aware of your financial standing before applying for a credit card is key to avoid any denials. Make sure to minimize the impact of a hard inquiry by checking your credit score before applying for anything.
What are the best rewards credit cards right now?
With so many cards out there, it’s hard to figure which card is best for you. SuperMoney has done the research for you and audited dozens of rewards credit cards and ranked the top offers available. The best card for you will depend on its earning and redemption rates, bonus offers, flexibility, and other rewards-related perks. Review our list above to help determine what is the right fit.
What type of credit card reward is the best?
To find the best type of credit card reward is for you, think about how you will be using your rewards. Consider a card in each of the major categories: travel reward credit cards, cash-back credit cards, and general rewards credit cards. Even if you are maximizing your rewards on a card, it’s all for naught if you’re not able to take full advantage of your points.
For instance, if there’s a new addition to your family and you won’t be able to travel much in your near future, you might get the most from a cash-back rewards card.
Are credit card points transferable?
Some reward cards offer the ability to transfer your rewards to other cards or loyalty programs. Make sure to look at the transfer ratio when comparing cards. If you’re considering transferring your reward points to a transfer partner or eligible loyalty program, check the transfer ratio beforehand. You’ll also want to look at what the terms, conditions, and limitations are, and whether the reward points have an expiration date.
Do credit card rewards points expire?
Most rewards points expire three years from when they were accrued. Some cards don’t have expiration dates as long as you used your card in the last 12 months.
Is it worth having multiple credit cards to maximize rewards?
Ultimately, you'll need to consider your spending habits and your typical credit card use patterns to decide if you're better off having multiple cards or just finding one great rewards card.
If you spend a lot and across different types of categories, then consider splitting your spending into several cards. This can boost your reward earnings, especially if there is an equal transfer ratio. This is more likely the case for cards offered by the same company.
Whatever option you choose, be sure to research the card or cards that will provide the best bang for your buck, given the kind of spending you do the most.
How do cashback credit cards work?
Cashback credit cards pay back a certain percentage of what you spend (similar to a rebate). The typical rate is between 1 and 2 percent for purchases, though some go as high as 5%. This cashback is generally paid annually, though some cards will pay cashback on a monthly basis. Most cashback cards credit the amount you earned onto your statement, reducing your credit card bill.
Are credit card reward points better than cashback?
Both have advantages. Cashback is flexible and easy to redeem. Points or miles dangle the possibility of a paid-for vacation and, sometimes, a higher reward value per dollar spent. Nowadays, some cards let you redeem rewards for cash or travel at the same value.
What to look for in a travel card?
When evaluating cards, look at both how they earn rewards and how you can redeem those rewards. Some cards offer higher rewards on travel spending and a lower base rate (usually 1%) on everything else. Other cards pay the same rate on all spending. Look for at least 2% rewards on a card with an annual fee and 1.5% on a no-fee card. As a general rule, avoid cards that give you less than 1 cent per point or mile when you redeem.
What are the benefits of getting an airline credit card?
Airline credit cards earn "miles" with each purchase. You typically get 1 mile per dollar spent, with a higher rate (2 or more miles per dollar) on purchases with the airline itself. (Some airline cards have also begun offering extra miles for purchases in additional categories, such as restaurants or car rental agencies.) These miles go into the same frequent-flyer account as the ones you earn by flying the airline, and you can redeem them for free flights with the airline or its alliance partners.